Mark Twain, Ice Cream and Me

Posted by: on Feb 21, 2020 | No Comments

Mark Twain, Ice Cream and Me

Several years ago I heard a story about Mark Twain and his love of cigars. Mr. Twain is visiting his doctor, when his doctor comments that he’d live 5 years longer if he gave up cigar smoking. Mark Twain’s response was “Sir, those are 5 years I’d rather not live.”Mr. Twain, I know how you feel. Last month I had my annual physical and once again, the doctor and I had “the cholesterol talk.” LDL, HDL, ratio, triglycerides, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, yada yada yada. This is nothing new to me as we have a family history of cholesterol issues and it’s something I’ve been dealing with since I was in my 30s.

Now it’s not all bad news. My levels are relatively stable, my good cholesterol is good and my ratio is as is fine but that damn LDL is the issue. Unfortunately I don’t like statins and statins don’t like me. Just ask my legs which were destroyed years ago by the constant barrage of Zocor and Trucor and Crestor and whatever other “o-r” drug was out there. I’m on a regimen of a very low dosage cholesterol drug and I’m not really sure what that does, but…as I said…my levels are stable.

After reviewing the latest labs and discussing with Linda, we decided to make certain adjustments to the foods we keep at home. First thing to go was all those yummy cheeses I could count on being available for the post work snack.  Now I haven’t given up pizza or using cheese in cooking but no more cheese and crackers. Instead it’s hummus and veggies, and I’m OK with that.

The real tough one has been ice cream, which I’ve given up before. Back when I was in my 30s I had a 2-3 pint a week habit of Ben & Jerry’s, which I was told to give up but I always come back to it, at least in moderation. Cookies and cream, mint chip, chocolate cookie dough…so many flavors to choose from. And don’t get me started on soft ice cream. Nothing better than a Carvel brown bonnet, when you can find one. As for lite, non-dairy options, all I can say is “no yucking way!”

Dessert these nights is mostly cookies. Nothing wrong with Oreos, Tates and the like but they ain’t Talenti’s Mediterranean Mint. I did recently treat myself to a chocolate babka from Liv Bakery here in Millburn. It’s so good to eat but not so good for my boyish figure (not to mention a certain wife who can’t resist it at all!), so I can’t keep that around all the time (however another one has appeared in our kitchen this week and I’m not the one who bought it!).

The other day, as I walked down the aisles at Wegman’s, I came to the ice cream section. It was very tempting and I felt like I was living the scene from Animal House where Pinto (played by Tom Hulce) is trying to decide whether to have sex with the young girl who has passed out from drinking too much. He’s got the devil on one should and an angel on the other. The devil in me is saying “fuck it,” just get the ice cream, while the angel says “stay away.” At which point my thoughts turned to Mark Twain and how would he react. Would he tell me not to give up ice cream because it’s not worth living a life without it or would he be practical and tell me to make the healthy choice. For now it’s the healthy choice but I know that at some point, I’ll be walking near the ice cream aisle that little devil will appear, and the freezer will once again be filled with pints of ice cream. It’s only a matter of time.